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Carrier SOP/posture?

 
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Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/22/2019 10:35:40 AM   
jarraya

 

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I have been playing the most excellent Northern Fury/Indian Fury scenarios and it raised a question about what a standing SOP might be for a carrier with regards to unknown aircraft. I'm hoping someone who's served on warships or knows about this can help.

Situation - carrier in non-hostile waters, peacetime - 4 x unknown aircraft detected at 100 nm, heading towards the carrier at high altitude, cruise speed (480kts in CMANO). How close would the carrier allow these aircraft to come before a) scrambling fighters; b) lock with fire control radars; 3) engage with missiles?

Would this change in any way if the carrier was at war?

Many thanks!

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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/22/2019 9:30:28 PM   
dcpollay


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I'm not an expert, but here's my imagination....

4 x aircraft in formation would be viewed as highly suspect, and at 480 kts 100 nm would be around 13 minutes away. When they were detected, there would be substantial attempts to establish radio communications and generate warnings. Any CAP aircraft aloft would be directed to ID them and shadow them. If weather allowed long-range TV would be used, though I don't know the range of that tech.

At 100 miles I would think the task force would be at General Quarters, even if they called it a peacetime "drill." Fighters would be scrambled, radio communications would be changed to warnings, and by 50 miles, if not identified by then, they would be painted with radar. I don't know when they would actually fire at an unidentified aircraft, but failure to identify should not happen at that range.

In a wartime situation, at 100 miles those planes are either confirmed civilians or already dead, or there's been a major failure by the task force.

_____________________________

"It's all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand."

Formerly known as Colonel Mustard, before I got Slitherine Syndrome.

(in reply to jarraya)
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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/23/2019 3:21:34 PM   
SeaQueen


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It also depends on intelligence. If you detect someone at 100 miles and you know the enemy might be armed with a 200 mile missile, you just lost that fight, because the missile is probably already inbound and you haven't detected it yet. The idea is to intercept the aircraft BEFORE they get in range to fire.

quote:

ORIGINAL: dcpollay
At 100 miles I would think the task force would be at General Quarters, even if they called it a peacetime "drill." Fighters would be scrambled, radio communications would be changed to warnings, and by 50 miles, if not identified by then, they would be painted with radar. I don't know when they would actually fire at an unidentified aircraft, but failure to identify should not happen at that range.

In a wartime situation, at 100 miles those planes are either confirmed civilians or already dead, or there's been a major failure by the task force.


(in reply to dcpollay)
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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/23/2019 10:20:54 PM   
Primarchx


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A suspicious flight like that might warrant an intercept. But there are examples where an adversary nation has flown it's aircraft by a carrier in peacetime without being escorted, so while the inbound flight might get an earful of radio warnings there's likely not going to be anyone shooting at them until it's obvious they're hostile, especially in international waters.

I love me the Northern/Mediterranean/Indian/Carribean Fury scenarios but the situation where the Soviets and their allies somehow get complete strategic surprise against NATO across the globe is a stretch, in my mind. Especially when we see the Cubans, Nicaraguans, Libyans, Yemenis, East African and Iranians somehow all in the loop with mobilized military forces ready to pounce before the sleepy US and its' allies have a clue. Makes for a good game but the chances of that actually happening are slim to none.

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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/24/2019 6:47:21 PM   
DWReese

 

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This is exactly what makes the Persian Gulf so dangerous for US Carriers. You aren't at war. The air traffic and sea is free. The Iranians have recently begun to mass small missile boats, but it could also be done with planes, and SWARM toward US ships, even carriers. They have eventually turned away as it was likely just a test run, but one of these days it could be be for real. Because of the ROE and the distance, you really don't have much time to defend yourself.

It's much easier if your "engagement" occurred in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but when confined to areas like the Persian Gulf, you're kind of "defeated" before you even get started. It's no fun for sailors.

Doug

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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/27/2019 4:41:05 PM   
OldSarge


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A good real life scenario of this situation is the attack on the USS Stark in 1987.

A good account of the events leading up to the incident can be fond here: Attack on USS Stark

Its a very informative read about the actions and decisions that commanders have to make and a good example of Boyd's OODA loop in action.

_____________________________

You and the rest, you forgot the first rule of the fanatic:
When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy.
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(in reply to DWReese)
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RE: Carrier SOP/posture? - 1/27/2019 10:08:42 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

I love me the Northern/Mediterranean/Indian/Carribean Fury scenarios but the situation where the Soviets and their allies somehow get complete strategic surprise against NATO across the globe is a stretch, in my mind.


I agree. That's part of why I avoid making scenarios involving the transition to hostilities because in a certain sense they're sort of uninteresting, by the time things have escalated to war, it's unlikely that both sides are completely clueless about what's going on, and their rules of engagement would probably reflect that. As a result, a complete surprise attack is unlikely. At the point that hostilities begin, both sides probably have an idea that the war could start at any moment, it's just a matter of when they say, "go." In that sense you're unlikely to achieve more than tactical surprise in the contemporary era. Operational is difficult at best and strategic surprise is downright miraculous to achieve. Surely during Desert Shield, Saddam Hussein had a good sense that the allies were going to begin their offense soon. He might not know exactly when, but I'm sure he had a good sense of the build up and its progress.

I also suspect it's really hard to actually capture the things which drive the transition to hostilities in Command. I've never spoken to anyone who has participated in warfare at that level, and I haven't done it myself, but I can't help but suspect it's actually a very complicated time right before the Generals and Admirals say, "go." As last minute diplomatic interventions by everyone from neutral governments, to Dennis Rodman are going on, for the military side, everyone is ready to go, with conventional forces in their assembly areas, aircraft lined up on the flight line, warships, submarines and bombers are approaching their missile launch baskets, SOF have probably already infiltrated days before, and are hiding, waiting to execute their missions. Meanwhile, the politicians who get the last word, must be under tremendous pressure. On their Command, thousands of people will risk death, and deal death. I don't envy them. I'm surprised they don't back down more often. It's a horrible responsibility.

Once they say, "go," though, I'm unsure how the tactics would be different during the transition to hostilities versus afterwards. It might just be a matter of the offensive force having tactical surprise, but not if the ROE are written smartly. At the onset of hostilities, both sides are at their strongest, though, because they haven't expended their best and most expensive weapons, and neither side has lost anything. In that sense, I guess it's the most intense part of a war. Then as both forces suffer attrition, it becomes harder and harder for both sides to mass enough resources to conduct an offensive against each other, or else defend against the other. That's when the pace begins to slow, I guess.

(in reply to Primarchx)
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